Japanese grannies release rap video to welcome G20

Danielle Demetriou
The Osaka-based 'idol group' has an average age of 66

It’s perhaps not quite the welcome leaders of the world’s most powerful nations are expecting. Just days before the Group of 20 summit opens in the Japanese city of Osaka, a group of so-called “granny rappers” have released a colourful welcome video in English.

The elderly “idol group” known as Obachaaan (“obachan” means “old lady" in Japanese) dance and rap through the streets of Osaka in animal print T-shirts and loud jewellery for their latest release called “Oba Funk Osaka”.

Their energetic rapping appears to defy their senior status, with the average age of the seven members being 66 -– a perhaps fitting reflection of Japan’s famously ageing society and a nod towards the possibility of demographic trends being raised during the G20.

During the video, the bouncy pensioners rap in awkwardly-translated English about the virtues of Osaka - where the G20 is being held this Friday and Saturday – from its friendliness and its free Wi-Fi and famous food.

The women rap about the virtues of Osaka from its famous food to free Wi-fi

“Let’s talk! Let’s dance! Here is Osaka Wonderful City!” rap the elderly ladies, followed by:  “Osaka obachan animal fashion! Let’s conversation! Hard communication! Come on! Do you want candy?”

There is even space for a light dig at Tokyo, with the two cities long enjoying a friendly rivalry - with one granny comparing how Tokyoites never help when asked for directions, unlike Osakans who will always provide directions, even if they have no idea of the location.

The rap, which nods at Japan's ageing population, includes a dig at Tokyo

“Up to now, we moved like we were undergoing rehab. But this time we nailed it,” Eiko Funai, a 71-year-old member of the group, which formed in 2011, told Kyodo News agency. “We hope that people all over the world get energised after watching the video.”

The release of the video – which has already attracted more than 33,000 views on YouTube – coincided with major security measures being unrolled across Osaka ahead of the G20 summit.

As Japan prepares to host the event for the first time, the National Police Agency mobilising more than 32,000 police officers to the streets of Osaka as they prepared for an influx of 30,000 summit-related officials.

Tourists and residents have also received official warnings of potential traffic delays, sealed public bins, closed station lockers, a ban on drones and restrictions around several luxury hotels ahead of the summit kicking off on Friday.

A major red light district in the city has even agreed to close down for the duration of the event, according to local media reports. All 159 members of an association of businesses that operate in the Tobita Shinchi red light district will reportedly close “to avoid disruption to the area,” according to one official.

United States president Donald Trump, Chinese president Xi Jinping and Russian president Vladimir Putin are among a raft of global leaders who are scheduled to fly into Japan later this week to attend the summit.